The Simpsons moulded my entire childhood. Whatever I was doing on Sunday nights invariably became a race against time until I heard the iconic theme music and bounded downstairs for that week’s new episode. I had books, posters, and a directory of classic quotes.

Every self-respecting Simpsons fan has a favourite character. Answers vary from oafish and lovable patriarch Homer (naturally), to one-off fan favourites like charming megalomaniac Hank Scorpio. I always found it really hard to narrow it down, but there was one person I would never have dreamed of choosing. Lisa Marie Simpson.

As an 8-year-old girl, I found her the most annoying character on the show. She was irritating, a serious foil to her more fun brother. Lisa came across as wound-up and a total buzzkill, and nobody I knew really seemed to have anything positive to say about her.

When asked why I disliked her all I used to say was ‘she’s annoying’. The real reason is I had a fear of something that I knew was true, deep down in my soul. I too, was a wound up buzzkill. I was a Lisa.

Let me explain a bit. As a child I was studious and craved the approval of teachers, every gold star on an essay providing me with proof I was ‘good’. I moralised to adults about littering and kept a regular nature diary, carefully noting the Latin names for all of the flowers I recorded. This is all typical behaviour of a common-or-garden Lisa.

Relating to Lisa but being desperate not to was hard. An episode where she had to deal with an academic rival, Alison (hey, Winona Ryder) and the jealousy that came with it hit far too close to home for me, and her efforts to impress her hip new friends on her beach vacation made me cringe with self-recognition. I also wanted desperately to be cool and impress the other kids at school, so my inherent Lisa-ness was something I didn’t want to play up.

But as I became a teenager I started to view Lisa in a new light. Having matured a little, I began to see that the world wasn’t often a fair place for her.

She wasn’t just a precocious kid with a superiority complex (although there certainly is an element of that, tbf). By revisiting the older episodes where I had written her off as an 8-year-old nag, I found instead a girl who was the moral centre of the show – whose passion for doing the right thing was now something that actually… inspired me.

Lisa consistently rails against unfair systems, from sexist Malibu Stacey dolls or Mr Burns polluting Springfield with slurry. She worries about being mediocre, being alone, and not fitting in like all of us – but there’s nothing wrong with wanting things to be better, and it’s not uncool to try. Lisa Simpson really CARES. Now I embrace my innate Lisa-ness, and you should too.

Here are just a few of Lisa’s best moments, that made me realise how brilliant she really is.

Lisa VS Malibu Stacey

Lisa Simpson: feminist icon. After she receives a Malibu Stacey doll who only speaks in sexist cliches about how she likes shopping and can’t you know, use her brain, Lisa goes on a valiant fight to change things.

Lisa The Beauty Queen

In this old episode, Lisa is entered into a beauty pageant by Homer in a misguided attempt to make her feel better about how she looks. Lisa is up against Amber Dempsey (and her false eyelashes from Paraguay), and although she doesn’t win first place, her performance still SLAYS.

Bart To The Future

In Bart’s vision of the future, we see Lisa become the President of the United States. And frankly I feel like we would be in a better position if that were true today.

Bart Sells His Soul

Although Lisa and Bart are fundamentally different and often fight, when the going gets tough Lisa is always prepared to help him out.

Summer of 4ft 2

This episode deals with Lisa and the crushing disappointment that comes when you aren’t fitting in at school. After she changes her image to impress some cool kids at the beach and is outed as a nerd by Bart, she worries about how she’ll ever make friends. A lot of people can identify with how hard that is, and she sums up the panic *perfectly*.

Lisa The Vegetarian

After a visit to the petting zoo, Lisa makes the decision to be a vegetarian – much to the confusion of her carnivorous family. She receives a whole heap of judgement at home and at school and eventually snaps at Homer’s barbecue when he wants to serve an entire roast pig. But eventually, with the help of Apu and world famous veggies Paul and Linda McCartney, she tries to understand her dad a little bit more.

Lisa’s Wedding

In this flash forward episode, we see Lisa fall in love with Hugh Parkfield. He’s intelligent and handsome, the perfect man. Except for one thing. He hates Lisa’s family and compares her to a flower that ‘grew out of a pot of dirt’. This insult causes her to call off the wedding, and she’s dead right too.

@incogellen

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

There’s something super romantic-sounding about love at first sight, isn’t there? Your eyes meeting across a crowded room, knowing immediately that they’re the one for you. Or, if you don’t fall in love in that VERY instant, at least embarking on a whirlwind romance that sees you smitten within days, if not hours. It sometimes seems like only love of the fast, breathless, thunderbolt variety is deemed really, properly proper.

Well sorry, but we’re calling bulls**t.

There’s another way to fall. And it isn’t glamorous. But it can be totally awesome. The cosy pyjamas of the relationship world, if you will. We’re talking about when your buddy becomes your bae.

There are tons of benefits to being friends first, but let’s start with this lightning bolt: you probably actually like each other. We know: duh, right? But don’t try and tell us you’ve never considered going out with someone just because it’d look good. (“They’re in the year above and in a band for chrissake. I can totally put up with narcissism and a terrible sense of humour!”) But friends first = you’re probs dating a genuinely good human.

And even better, your attraction’s probably based on more than looks (although wanting to smooch them constantly is great, too). Maybe you’ve got tonnes in common, they make you laugh, or you admire their gaming skills. Whatever it is, things will probs be funner for longer because your feelings are more than just butterflies in your pants. Ruth, a magazine designer, has been with her boyf for four years, but they were friends for a year and a half first. “We had a mutual love of design and I found I could bounce ideas off him and really admired his way of thinking. His creative side was a big part of why I fell for him, and it feels nice to have some substance beneath the fancying. After all, looks fade eventually!”

And who’da thunk it, that whole admiration thing works both ways. So yep, if you’re dating your friend, they probably actually like you, too. The real you.

“We all have a ‘false me’ and a ‘real me’,” says Emma Gleadhill, a speaker and coach who helps young people manage their relationships. “In some social situations we choose to keep the ‘real me’ more hidden. But you shouldn’t have to do that with your partner. It takes so much emotional energy to keep being ‘the girlfriend’ instead of just being yourself. You should be able to tell your partner that you’d rather stay in and be ‘boring’ tonight, or you should feel comfortable even when you’re not looking your best. There should be an inner confidence that they accept the real you.”

There’s also the big T. And no we’re not talking about the fact you both love tacos. Or T-Swift. (Although surely they’ve got to be two of the best Ts, right?). “I guess the biggest thing was the trust between us,” says Ruth. “At the time, we were both involved with other people and so we really were just friends. But it was nice to have somebody to confide in who was outside of things. We’d meet for coffees, and over time we came to really trust each other. That meant that when we were single and got together, things seemed natural because we already had that foundation.”

As well as being a generally awesome ingredient in a relationship, trust is also super handy when it comes to funtimes of the sexy persuasion. “It’s easy to get swept along with things you’re not comfortable with because you want to keep the other person happy,” says Emma. “But it’s so important not to do that – to remember that you have power and control over your own body. Hopefully, if you’ve built up trust as friends, it’ll be easy to be honest with each other about what you do and don’t want.”

And when real life makes you want to kill each other / cry on each other / run away… fear not! Turns out there are skills you’ve already practised as friends that help you boss it as a couple, too. “Things like negotiation, discussion, collaboration and being supportive,” says Emma. “If you get those things right, you should end up with a relationship where you understand and complement each other, rather than where one person always leads and the other follows.”

We also reckon you’re more likely to try fun new things with friends-turned-heart-flutterers. No one wants to royally SUCK at rock climbing with some hottie they’ve only just met and haven’t sussed out yet. But the person who’s already seen you fall on your face ice skating, or forget your lines in the school play? That feels weirdly fine. Especially since they lay on the ice with you while you both died laughing.

But best of all, they can help you push yourself to new heights of awesomeness. “When we were friends,” says Ruth, “my other half would show me his design work and I’d say, ‘why don’t you try this instead?’ He’d do the same for me. It wasn’t about impressing each other. It was about challenging each other to think differently, and pushing each other’s limits. If I’d just started dating someone I think I’d have felt put out to be questioned like that. But with a friend, it was ok. We made each other want to be the best we could be. And we still do.”

#Relationshipgoals, right? So, if you’ve been having ‘Feelings with a capital F’ for a mate, but think you should be wait for some fateful earthquake with a gorgeous stranger, stop waiting. That cosy pyjama love could be one of the best of your life.

@LucindaEverett

Emma Gleadhill runs workshops in schools helping young people to handle their relationships.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Getty

We know the deal: you can’t help being a *little* bit cheeky with the Christmas list in the hope that Ma and Pa recognise you’ve been reeeeeeeally good this year and buy you that rose gold Macbook (please, please, please, please, please). But let’s be real here, ain’t nobody getting a £1000+ gift on the 25th December. We’re not Blue Ivy, guys.

Instead, what if we told you there was a pressie that keeps on giving ALL YEAR ROUND and your ‘rents would 100% approve? It exists, trust us – it’s a bettybox! Pop a subscription on your wishlist and not only will you get your chosen period essentials each month (happy parents), but you’ll get a bunch of presents too (happy you).

Here’s why bettybox is the Christmas gift of dreams…

You’ll never run out of pads or tampons

Never again will you get that sinking feeling when your period arrives unannounced (nowhere near the date you’d circled in your diary btw) and there isn’t a tampon in sight. They’ll arrive straight to your door, no effort required. Winner!

Your beauty game will be ON POINT

This month’s bettybox comes with MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder, Essence Nail Polish, and a Blank Canvas make up brush that has bristles softer than a puppy sitting on a cloud, eating a marshmallow, surrounded by feathers. Oh, and that’s only half of it.

It’s like lots of mini Christmases

Who doesn’t enjoy being sent gifts Every. Single. Month?! Snacks and beauty products are the best kinds of gifts, too. Oh and, of course, pads and tampons are super helpful for your everyday life. You can even set it to arrive on the 25th of each month. I mean, that might be a bit unhelpful when your period arrives on the 2nd, but sacrifices have to be made to achieve the Christmas dream.

You’ll enter the new year with a new squad

Subscribing to bettybox doesn’t just mean getting an amazing package through your door. When you sign up, you join a whole collective of girls going through the ups and down of life together, from periods to self esteem to relationship dramas. It ain’t no walk in the park you know, and there’s nothing more important than having your squad around you.

There’s always someone to turn to

If you have worries about ANYTHING, we’ve got you. Skin problems, sexuality questions, the health issue you think is totally weird but is actually super normal… we bring you no BS advice for all those times when you’re not too sure how to ask someone else.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.

Image: Kate Borrill

December’s bettybox has serious shimmer game. It’s been inspired by *everything* we love about the festive period: fairy lights, tinsel, fireworks, the sparkly wrapping paper we’re gonna rip to shreds on Christmas morning… yassss, December is the best! Shine bright like a diamond and boss it like Rihanna (even while you’re on your period) thanks to bettybox’s Shimmer Edit. See you in 2018, girls!

Sneak peek inside…

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder

Essence

Montezuma’s

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome.

Image: Kerri Walter

Have you ever had that feeling where you lay eyes on someone for the first time and BAM, they totally slay you? One moment you’re in control, a powerhouse who knows just what she wants in life, then a second later you’re a blob of half-melted fro-yo. Being in the company of that person you find irresistibly hot can have a seriously dramatic affect on a girl. But what actually happens when you bag yourself a brand new crush?

Your hormones get srsly out of whack

Our feelings and emotions are controlled by a bunch of chemicals, and the ones that go wild when we first meet someone we like can make us feel bonkers. The part of your brain that kicks into action is the same bit that lights up when drug addicts take drugs – yep, it’s that intense! A heady cocktail of hormones is released, including dopamine which is connected to happiness, adrenaline which makes blood pump around your body harder (hello, racing heart and sweaty palms) and oxytocin which makes you feel all loved up. Aw.

You get, like, SUPER interested in what they’re saying…

Er, hi there, Miss Hates-all-sports-loves-Netflix-and-blankets… Since when were you massively into skateboarding and hiking? Oh, since you got chatting to THAT new bae, of course. It’s a funny trick our minds play on us, but suddenly, everything your crush is into seems extra appealing. Maybe it’s because any contact with them is exciting. And hey, it doesn’t hurt to have a few things in common, right?!

…And you just can’t. stop. talking.

Whether you’re talking to your crush, or about them, it feels like your mouth is running away with you. When you’re face to face, you chat-chat-chat to make sure you seem like the most interesting and hilarious person on the planet (and, ahem, to hide those crazy nerves you’ve got going on). And when you’re spilling to your mates, well, there’s no end to the fascinating tidbits you’ve just got to share about the one who’s got your heart racing.

It means you can’t even see their flaws

Ever heard the saying “Love is blind”? That is totes appropes for the start of something new, when it’s natural to focus really, really hard on all of the great things about your crush (while ignoring anything not so great). That’s why you find yourself falling over with laughter at the tiniest little LOL they crack (while your mates stand by and roll their eyes). Just remember – no one’s perfect, not even this super-magical guy or gal.

Ever feel like you’re turning into a puppy?!

At the very start of a relationship, it’s natural to want to impress your almost boyfriend/girlfriend in every way possible. As well as wanting to show that you’re into the same sort of stuff, you might also want to shower them with love, affection and gifts, get over excited about everything they say and even start following them around. Which -– like a puppy – is very cute, but might feel a bit full-on to the other person. Make sure you’re on the same page about PDAs before you go way overboard.

They’re the first thing you think of in the morning…

Before your crush came along, you used to wake up thinking about your homework you hadn’t quite finished, or that massive bowl of Coco Pops you were about to tuck into, but now there’s only one thing on your mind: that a certain gorgeous someone exists.

And the last thing you think of when you go to sleep at night

Sleep? Sleep?! These days, you just lie in bed with your heart pounding, playing out a bunch of different scenarios of what might happen if you dare to talk to them, tell them how you feel or even pucker up… It’s too much for a girl to take!

You can’t take your eyes off them

If you’re lucky enough to move on from stage one crushdom (staring at him or her from a distance) and actually talk to them, you can tell a lot from the way they look at you. Sure, nerves might mean that making eye contact seems sorta scary, but if you dare, gaze into those deep pools. Couples who are falling for each other tend to look into each other’s peepers for far longer than would normally feel comfortable. It’s a way of telling the other person you like them without saying a word. Intense (and kinda magical).

Time gets all screwy

Is there nothing that having a new amore doesn’t mess with?! Even time itself can feel different when you set your sights on someone new. Every minute that you’re apart can feel like weeks and when you’re together, hours can fly by. And as for when you’re kissing… well, time just goes out of the window altogether.

The sad bit: it can’t last forever.

Being so dizzy you can hardly see isn’t really a state you can maintain for too long without, you know, failing all your exams/tripping over your own feet/forgetting to eat your lunch/missing the important bits in Riverdale, so coming back down to earth (hopefully once your crush is firmly your long term love) isn’t totally a bad thing. Honest.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Amber Griffin

Crushes can be hard, guys. Whether you keep yourself at a distance or see them every day, having a crush (and all the thinking that comes with it) can take up all of your time. Then there are the physical problems that come with fancying someone: you feel butterflies in your stomach, your hands get sweaty, your mouth gets dry, and your brain doesn’t seem to work as quickly as it normally does.

I thought the burning crushes I would get as a teenager would stop happening when I grew older, but I was wrong. These days, I fancy people just a strongly as I did a decade ago. The main difference between my crushes back then and now? At 25, I like myself a lot better than I did when I was 15.

It’s easy to forget a crush isn’t just about the person you fancy – it’s also about you. Crushes suddenly make you overanalyse everything about yourself: the way you look, what you say, and most of all, the things you like. When I was a teenager, I’d heard that opposites attract but I wasn’t convinced. Instead, I was certain that I needed to have loads of things in common with the people I fancied if I wanted them to take any notice. The problem was, I was convinced I wasn’t interesting enough, and that the things I liked were weird or silly or childish or (worst of all) ‘girly’.

As an only child who went to a girls’ school, teenage boys were alien creatures to me. They were louder than I was used to, with weird habits and interests in things I had never even heard of. How was I supposed to get one to fall in love with me if I we had nothing in common? Easy: I could lie.

Lying about my interests to impress boys is something I’m not proud of, but it’s something I used to do often – even with guys I didn’t even have a crush on. Growing up, men always seemed to be into such cool things, like sports and games and activities, while I was mostly just obsessed with books. So I started fudging the truth, pretending I had an interest in topics they would talk about all the time… then heading to the library computer after school and cramming in as much research as I could before the next time I saw them, and could impress them with everything Wikipedia had taught me.

Over the years, the list of things I pretended to like to impress boys grew and grew. One of the earliest times I think I ever lied to a boy was in Year 6, when I claimed I also supported Chelsea FC. The reality? I had barely watched any football, and the only team I could name was Crystal Palace (because I liked the word ‘crystal’).

Then there was the time I said I loved the same niche X-Men comics a boy I liked was obsessed with, when really I didn’t even know where you could buy comic books. In secondary school a friend of mine would give me Green Day CDs that I hated for my birthday every year, all because she overheard me telling a boy they were my favourite band. As I got a bit older, the lies were smaller but a bit more frequent. I was intimidated when I first got to my fancy university, so spent a lot of my time pretending I had read books or watched films I had never even heard of.

For the most part, most of my lies have had happy endings. Pretending to support Chelsea opened the door for a genuine, life-long love of football, when I finally got my hands on some comics I thought they were great, and I still smile when I hear Green Day and remember why I first listened to them. But nowadays, I never lie about the things I like – and neither should you.

Crushing on someone is exhausting enough without needing to keep up with a list of fake interests. Also we’ve all fancied awesome people, but no-one is worth lying about yourself for – I promise that you’re interesting enough without adding a few extras.

And most importantly? Everything you like and dislike is valid. Maybe some of my interests have been weird and silly and childish and very, very girly, but who cares? I liked them anyway. ‘Just be yourself’ is a cliché but it’s true, because there’s only one of you and you’re the coolest version of yourself that exists.

It’s also worth remembering that lying about your interests to impress someone you fancy means you could get stuck with someone who doesn’t like any of the things you like. And how boring would that be?

@bridgetminamore

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

We all know that relationships rarely play out like they do in the fantasy movies we grew up with. I mean sure, sometimes a knight in shining armour might be willing to take you to the cinema or buy you some ice cream. But rarely will he fight off a dragon for you AND buy you a big, pimped out castle at the end of it all.

It’s as though we’re brainwashed from a really, really young age to believe that while crushes and love and relationships can be tricky and dramatic things, don’t worry, they’ll all end with a golden, shining Disney-worthy ‘Happily Ever After’. But that’s not how it works. Like, ever.

So to celebrate the normal, messy, sticky, happy, easy, arguing and boring-but-loving relationships that are much more real, we’ve collected together a bunch of our favourite movie relationships. The good part is they’re still romantic, they’re still nice to watch, they’re still dramatic sometimes – but most importantly, they’re not all dreamy, golden-hued and set in a fantasy land with two exceptionally good-looking straight people. Here’s to love!

Adele and Emma – Blue is The Warmest Colour

Adele and Emma prove that sometimes you do get that instant OMG-I’m-in-love magic moment when you first see someone. But you know what? No dramatic music played, no birds were singing, a halo of golden stars didn’t circle around their heads. It was just a very real, a very genuine and a very normal moment that was ignited by such a special look.

After that, their relationship develops and brings up all of the tricky stuff you experience when you first fall for someone really, really hard. Not to mention it’s Adele’s first relationship with another woman, so you get to watch how that plays out. Their relationship is lovely at times, beautiful at times, messy at times, sad at times, but it feels so real that we just can’t take our eyes off either of them.

Baby and Johnny – Dirty Dancing

Even if you’ve never watched Dirty Dancing (you totally should, it’s cheesy and ridiculous, but a classic) you’ll have seen that iconic over-the-head lift from it played out time and time again, especially in the swimming pool or by some very cocky people on a dancefloor. You know the one, right? The guy stands still and the girl jumps up into his arms. (Please don’t try it at home. Maybe just in water or on a very squishy bouncy castle.)

Dirty Dancing tells the musical story of Baby and Johnny, who fall in love at a summer holiday camp. Sure, it’s hardly a super gritty, realistic setting, but what we like about it is that their story is filled with problems and questions and road bumps, just like normal relationships. But that’s not to say you can’t inject some OTT dance moves into your next romance.

 

Jacob and Hannah – Crazy, Stupid Love

Speaking of crazy dance moves, one of our favourite ever rom-com scenes is in Crazy, Stupid Love in which Jacob (that’s Ryan Gosling’s character) tries to re-enact the iconic Dirty Dancing lift. We won’t tell you whether he succeeds or not.

Jacob and Hannah’s story is really interesting because they have to deal with a lot of stuff, like how they both acted in the past, previous relationships, family troubles and all of the things you’re not ‘supposed’ to think about when you’re filmically head-over-heels in love with someone.

Psst… If you enjoy shipping Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, you obviously need to check out La La Land, where they’re dancing with each other all over again. But with musical magic!

Jamal and Latika – Slumdog Millionaire

You know how there’s always just a little bit of drama in Disney princess romances, like an evil step mum or a spiky spinning wheel thingy-ma-wotsit? Well, Slumdog Millionaire is an epic love story filled with challenges that are truly horrifying – but sadly a reality for hundreds of thousands of children growing up in the slums of Mumbai.

Not only does this make Jamal and Latika’s timeless love story even more edge-of-your-seat dramatic, but when they finally meet again (and again and again) we dare you not to cry your eyes out. It’s a tough watch in many ways, but proof that despite all kinds of hardships you can make it through. And hopefully meet up with your childhood sweetheart again at some point too.

Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley – Harry Potter Movie Series

From the very beginning of the Harry Potter movies there’s a special connection between Harry and Ginny. We like that because it’s the way a lot of relationships develop. Slowly. Quietly. Over time. Sometimes even over many years.

As well as that, you’ll often find you’ll get crushes on people in unexpected places, like on your best mate’s sister. And if you talk that through, it can be totally fine – or even magical.

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark – The Hunger Games

Fine, nothing about The Hunger Games is realistic. But what does feel really real is the icky love triangle Katniss finds herself in with Peeta and Gale.

A lot of romantic films would have us believe that we clap eyes on someone and that’s it. Done. We love them forever and ever and the alternative is a lifetime of heartbreak. But really feelings are a helluva lot more complicated. Like the fact it’s totally possible to fall for more than one person at a time. Sure it’s often a bit easier to figure out who you like the most when you’re not also trying to save the world and lead a revolution, but it still happens.

Chiron and Kevin – Moonlight

Moonlight won Best Picture at the Oscars earlier this year (trust us – they checked. A lot), so it’s a bonafide must-watch. Just make sure you have some tissues on hand, and whack on some waterproof mascara because it’s a proper, beautiful heart-breaker at times.

This intense and powerful tale certainly doesn’t unfold like a conventional love story. In fact the relationship with Chiron and Kevin is a million miles away from a dreamy romance, which is what has landed the movie such critical acclaim. Instead, it explores issues of race, family and sexuality throughout three powerful stages of Chiron’s life.

Juno and Paulie/Bleeker – Juno

This laugh-out-loud movie is all about two high school friends who have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy, as well as their confusing feelings for each other.

Sure that might sound really bloody scary – and they both get really bloody scared at times – but it’s great to see how two imperfect people can come together, accept responsibility and find a way to muddle through. It just goes to show relationships aren’t always sunshine and rainbows or riding off into the sunset. Sometimes you’re forced to face up to big, important, terrifying things. But you know what? You can always get through it, alone or together.

@BeccaCaddy

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Activating: relationship. Level: beginner. You got this, girlfriend…

1. I am in a relationship now.

2. I AM IN A RELATIONSHIP.

3. I AM SOMEONE’S GIRLFRIEND.

4. I must assume the role of girlfriend!

5.…what does that even mean? I don’t feel any different.

6. Is there a book on this? Do I put it on Facebook?

7. I haven’t even told my mum.

8. Is she gonna give me the sex talk again? Ugh.

9. Wait, sex. Do we have to have sex now?!

10. No, we don’t. We don’t have to have sex. We will talk about being ready for sex.

11.

12. Will it weird them out if I create a wedding Pinterest board?

13. I need to learn how to hold hands with someone in public.

14. I get sweaty palms, maybe I should carry talc around with me.

15. No, I’d smell like Nan.

16. Oh boy, introducing Nan. How do I explain Nan?

17. INTRODUCING PARENTS.

18. BEING INTRODUCED TO PARENTS.

19. RED ALERT, RED ALERT. EVERYONE TO THE BUNKER.

20. How long do I have before I meet the parents?

21. I will google a script.

22. THEY’VE TEXTED ME.

23. Hold on, I don’t need to freak out at that anymore, I’m their girlfriend.

24. I’M THEIR GIRLFRIEND.

25. Have we stepped up a level with kisses? How many do I put?

26. Or do I put none at all because it’s just implied now that I lov-

27. WHEN DO I SAY I LOVE YOU?

28. What is love?

29. I will google that as well, to be sure.

30. Shall I prepare an ‘I love you’ speech or just slip it in?

31. Oh jeez, sex.

32. This being in a relationship thing is more stressful than I thought.

33. How long has it been?

34. *checks * 10 minutes. I have been in a relationship for 10 minutes.

35. I think I have an upset stomach.

36. CAN I FART IN FRONT OF THEM? Who makes the first farting move?

37. What about pooing, can I poo? I poo a lot.

38. Thinking of them pooing is weird. Maybe it isn’t love yet.

39. Is that love?

40. 

41. Ew.

@louisejonesetc

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

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Love going to gigs? Most of the time they’re amazing fun, right? But there are times when stuff goes down in the crowd that is absolutely NOT OK. In recent years, reports of sexual assault at music venues have been racking up, so our star girl this week is Bea Bennister. She and her squad are the co-founders of Girls Against, a campaign that fights for the safety of girls at music events across the country.

💗💟🌸🎀💒👩🏼‍🎤 3

A post shared by Bea Bennister (@grlfight) on

The gang decided to start Girls Against two years ago after their friend was sexually assaulted at a music gig – and their movement has resonated with a lot of women, including musicians themselves. Bands such Slaves, Wolf Alice and Peace are supporting the girls to speak out against any inappropriate behaviour at their events.

Bea is deffo not trying to scare you away from enjoying the amazing music scene the UK has to offer, she’s just fighting for the justice that girls deserve. Yep, she’s awesome, and here’s why…

She’s totally woke

Bea is super passionate about change and wastes no opportunity when it comes to spreading her goodness. Her work with Girls Against channels itself into all aspects of her life. “My free time and Girls Against stuff merge into one. I’ll be at a gig, then suddenly I’m handing out badges,” she told Time Out.

Bea and her squad spread the word both on and offline. Their Twitter is full of interesting convos between people like them, as well as support from celebrities who are trying to help make a change. They also have posters up at loads of cool venues that talk about how to help someone you think might be being sexually harassed in a crowd. Their flyers include hotlines that you can call free of charge for counselling if any of these issues have affected you too.

She’s all about empowering women

Girls Against is a collective trying to encourage people not to be bystanders and instead speak out if they see something wrong. They have recruited over 80 reps country-wide to help spread the word and create awareness that any sort of harassing behaviour simply isn’t OK.

There’s still along way to go in the journey but the work that Bea and her girls are doing is definitely helping. Earlier this month, British rapper Loyle Carner had a young man removed from his show in Norwich after he overheard the guy shouting sexist abuse at his female support act. Steps like this help to put the girls hard work into action and we love that people from across the music industry are coming together to help.

She’s just like us

Unfortunately lots of girls have been personally affected by or know people affected by this issue. Bea and her crew are speaking up. As well as fighting for women’s safety and happiness, Bea is a uni student in Brighton. The girls love gigs and festivals and are doing the best they can to make them safer for everyone involved. We think Bea’s work is super inspiring and love the message she is spreading amongst music lovers. You go girl.

favourite people

A post shared by Bea Bennister (@grlfight) on

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Not being taken seriously is awful. It’s the most frustrating feeling, whether it’s your project group in school not listening to your ideas, or a boy asking you to name 50 of a band’s songs when you wear their t-shirt to prove you’re a real fan. THE WORST.

But often other people not taking you seriously can have more damaging repercussions than being bored out of your tree for 30 minutes at a party as a boy asks you to recite Radiohead lyrics. It can really knock your self-esteem, particularly if it’s a dig at a part of your identity you hold dear – or might still struggle with.

For a lot of people, our sexuality is a massive element of what makes us well, ‘us’. But all too frequently other people (friends, parents, the media) can make you feel invalidated and inauthentic when it comes to who you fancy. This is particularly the case when it comes to those of us who might not identify along the traditional binary of attraction. If you’re not straight, it’s ‘just a phase’, and if you are attracted to more than one gender, you’re obviously hopping aboard the ‘Queerness As A Trend’ bandwagon that we’ve all heard about.

How to deal

First off, if it’s just a phase – who cares? Exploring your sexuality is normal and healthy, and it’s never your fault that someone has stereotypical preconceived notions about who you are.

‘You’re just confused.’ Er, being a person alive in the WORLD is confusing. Confusion is an aspect of being human we all have to deal with, but having your feelings invalidated by an ignorant remark can leave you feeling embarrassed and like a fake. If you feel like you can engage with this person and tell them your feelings were hurt, by all means give it a shot, but it’s also not your duty to convince someone that your identity is worthwhile. A lot of people would class their sexuality as fluid and changeable, while other people feel very comfortable categorising themselves as one thing or another. Guess what? Everyone’s feelings are valid! I know, crazy right?

Secondly, people dismissing others identifying under the LGBTQI umbrella as a ‘trend’ is nasty and short-sighted.

LGBTQI individuals have a much higher risk of suffering from mental health issues, or being victims of prejudiced abuse because of how they identify. The American Department of Health and Human Services found that there are higher rates of depression and anxiety among lesbians and bisexual women, with bisexuals even more likely to experience mental health issues. A lot of the time ‘bi-erasure’ (ignoring, dismissing or pretending bisexuality doesn’t exist) can contribute to the anxiety for bisexual people, who feel like they have twice the amount to prove. So if someone ever implies you’re just pretending to reach some imaginary level of cool, they’re being ignorant of the fact that LGBTQI people have a harder time in a largely hetero and gender-normative world. Tell them that.

And remember…

That old chestnut, compulsory heterosexuality, is another reason people might brush off your feelings about who you’re attracted to. The world is structured so people are viewed as heterosexual by default, unless they can prove otherwise. This means that if you deviate from the so-called ‘norm’, you’re sometimes viewed with a little bit of suspicion. But thankfully, people seem to be becoming more open-minded and thoughtful in their responses to the multitudes of sexual identities and ways to define yourself (or not).

Ultimately, if you find yourself feeling less comfortable under a label and gravitate towards another one, that’s fine. ‘Finding yourself’ is kind of a myth anyway, as who you are is a continuous process, moulded by what you experience as you grow up. People who have a problem with it most likely have their own issues they’re projecting onto you. Sexuality isn’t as easy to compartmentalise as you might think, and it’s not up to you to constantly prove yourself to other people.

Look after yourself, and treat others with the same respect and kindness you deserve yourself. That’s all any of us really need to do.

@incogellen 

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Let’s just say the ‘D’ word that no one wants to talk about. No, not discharge, or diarrhoea, or double denim.

It’s death. Not a fun subject, but a significant one that no doubt a handful of pupils at your school – and maybe even you, lovely reader – have been affected by.

I was nine when my Mum died (breast cancer, in case you want to know – which of course you do, we all always want to know) and being the bereaved kid in school was really hard. Actually, it wasn’t hard. Hard was the death part. It was just super, super annoying.

I remember feeling like a celebrity whose nude photos had been leaked; a mix of embarrassment and strange popularity, the day I went back to school. Everyone stared and whispered. Teachers kept squeezing my shoulder, the kids in my class – including one who’d previously founded the Helena Hater Club (an annoyingly fabulous use of alliteration) – suddenly wanted to be on my team in rounders. A friend’s mother pulled me to one side to tell me that apparently my Mum was dancing in a meadow – a meadow – with my dead grandparents now.

But there was something that helped, and it wasn’t strangers telling me I was ‘brave’ or ‘strong’ because something happened to me that I had absolutely no control over – I was just getting up every day and putting one foot in front of the other, despite the fact that it felt like I was walking through sticky black treacle. That thing was my mates.

Here are the sad statistics; according to children’s charity Winston’s Wish, over 41,000 children in the UK are bereaved of a parent each year. That’s 100 every day. So, if that’s you, know this: you are not alone.

Death is the worst kind of goodbye, but it is inevitable, and if my experience taught me anything, it’s that there are some really great ways that friends can help. Grief feels like you’re stuck in one of those goody grabber claw machines, but instead of goodies you’re buried deep in the dark beneath bad thoughts and someone is playing a sad song on repeat. Friends are the claw that help get you the hell out – it might take a couple of goes, but eventually you will end up escaping.

How? For starters, friends can listen. Chances are, if someone is bereaved of a family member, they’ll be bearing the weight of enormous emotional support back at home. Friends can help relieve it – everyone needs to have a go at being the crying one. It’s healthy.

Patience is important too. The fact of the matter is death changes you. It just does. It might be a temporary change – your bereaved friend may not care about school for a while, or previously chilled friends might become anxious. They might even want to shut you out and be inside their own head for some time. Be patient while your friend works through that and let them know you’re ready to help if and when they want to ask for it.

Sensitivity – have it. Not too much, don’t treat your bereaved friend like a baby chick with a broken wing. Small things can sting though. I remember, a couple years later in secondary school, faking illness because we were learning family vocab in french and I just couldn’t deal with Madame Bernard asking us to repeat after her the french for “I live with my Mum”. Try to find out the date of their parent’s birthday, and remember the date that they died; it’s likely your friend will be having a bad time when it comes around each year.

Finally, bereavement will make a person crave normality like a packet of chocolate Hob Nobs on a bad period day. Make them laugh, distract them, remind them of the person that they were before this happened.

I won’t tell you that losing someone you love gets easier. Time can’t heal that, but you will get used to it. You’ll replace tears at the thought of them to laughter and a sense of comfort when retelling memories. It’s been 17 years since my Mum died and, cards on the table, I miss her just as much as I did when I was nine. But the shock has gone, which helps prevent the sense of loneliness, which helps you realise that you are not in this alone.

The dead parent club has many members. It’s a subscription none of us asked for, but we’ve got the badge and we wear it anyway. We’re puffy-eyed, determined and worth every second our mates spend standing at that claw machine.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Hailey Hamilton

1. Are they walking towards me?

2. Does my breath smell?

3. Why did I have a tuna sandwich for lunch?

4. Why did I have a tuna sandwich ever? Tuna is the kryptonite of romance.

5. My arms feel weird.

6. Should I cross them?

7. Or just leave them by my sides?

8. Oh my god, what do I normally do with my arms?! WHY IS THIS SO HARD.

9. What should I say?

10. “Hey!”? Nope. Too American.

11. “Hi”? Too simple.

12. “Howdy?” Wait, am I suddenly in a 50s Western film?

13. Maybe I’ll just nod. Nodding says, “I acknowledge you exist, but your presence doesn’t make me want to run away to Spain with you and tattoo your name on my bicep or anything.” Nodding is cool. Right?

14. Right?!

15. Oh my god, they’re coming! No, no no – they’re right here.

16. “G’day partner, do your arms ever feel weird?”

17. Nailed it.

It’s time you started celebrating your period, guys. Sign up to bettybox RN and get all your tampons and pads, beauty products, sweet treats and loads more cool stuff delivered to your door, every single month. We know. It’s totally awesome. 

Image: Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging